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Japanesepod101 Review

Posted by Ken Cannon

Ken Cannon here,

OK so people are always asking me about the best/fastest ways to learn Japanese.

So I decided I’d do some reviews for some of the more popular ones.

First off, as the title says is of course www.japanesepod101.com

This site has gotten quite popular recently.Now at first I really didn’t like this site, and this sounds a bit mean, but honestly I thought they’re spokes person was really annoying. You know, the one all over youtube, that Japanese girl?

But then one day I decided to stop being a complete ass, and try them out. So I did, last week actually. And cool thing was, I actually liked they’re site! They have literately hundreds of different lessons to learn from! Something I thought was amazing! And the podcast’s themselves are very professionally produced. It’s sort of like a morning talk show type thing.

However! I found it very faced paced, and most of the time they give good explanations on how to words are used, but make really no attempt to help the listener to actually remember the phrases! A lot of the time I found them simply listing the vocabulary words.

Another downfall to this site is there is very little direction on how to go about learning, It is was cool for me because I already speak the language but for somebody just starting out it would be a bit random.

On top of that, they seem really cheap, with the whole free lifetime membership thing, But the supposedly free, lifetime membership really has a very very limited amount of content on it. And is just a sales gimmick to get you to upgrade.

So with they’re most basic upgrade, 4 dollars a month, which seems quiet cheap. Its comes to about 50 bucks a year. Now as most people take 4 years to learn a language, especially with Japanesepod101’s haphazard lesson format. You’ll end up spending about 200 bucks. Which of course isn’t so cheap.

All in all I’d say this site is great as a supplemental resource, something you can use to keep your Japanese up to speed when you’re doing something else. (for example I listen to it while jogging, and driving)

But to really learn the language from the ground up, in the quickest amount of time, there are other options out there.

Overall 5/10

Well thats my review, I'd really like to know what you think. If you have or have used Japanesepod101 I'd be really grateful if  you could go ahead and put your input below. Rate on a scale from 1 to 10 and hopefully we can get a bit of a discussion going on here.

Ken Cannon


  1. I have to agree with you,
    the content is severely lacking for free members

    ...and Im severely cheap

    the you-tube videos have been super-cool though.

  2. I have been getting emails from them for a long time even before I even knew your videos existed. Only reason I don't just unsubscribe from them is because of the small bit of content they have that is actually free.

  3. Agreed, that hiroko is alright, but once you see her vlogs then your kinda like, uhhhhg.(I'm not trying to be mean either DX)

  4. I agree with the things you pointed out here. I've been listening to the podcast for two weeks or so, I've learned how to formulate very basic sentences but when you get to the podcasts where the sentences are longer, they don't explain anything. They just want you to repeat. I really wanted to learn how they conjugated the verbs and the proper particles to use but they skip those.They're skipping the most important parts. You're supposed to check the PDF lessons but that's the drawback there, not convenient when you're you're not close to a computer. Oh on a totally different topic, if you don't mind, Id like to point out your erroneous usage of the contracted pronoun "they are" (they're). You're using it as a possessive pronoun which should have been "their". ;-)

    1. Hi Xiomara. Well, you said that they dont explain longer sentences but i know how to do one because they taught to me!
      Other point is they also explain how to conjugate verbs, but it is a little far away, the same happens to the use of particles, they have already explained to me how to use ni, ga, wa, mo, wo and so on.
      So, i guess u should try to keep learning from they, but see some lessons on the absolute begginer season 2, or even some final classes of the season 1.

      OBS: i am not an english speaker, so... sorry about my write.

  5. I signed up and took the one week free premium membership to download as much as I could. I got a couple hundred lessons plus the premium content before I ran out of space on my usb. I would recommend doing that for anyone interested in using it but not paying...cheap, and kinda of stealing...but they are the ones who gave the one week membership.

  6. Yes it is cheap and kind of stealing. I think the site is terrific and great value. They market it a bit aggressively but people should get over expecting content of this amount and quality to be free.

  7. Hello,

    I recently signed up for their Hungarian podcast, as Hungarian language resources are surprisingly very scarce for a language with a deep, cultural heritage. In this sense, I appreciate the fact that they have something at all. I think their advanced courses don't seem that advanced or complex (I did a trial with another language that I speak fluently, and didn't feel that it wasn't authentic or challenging.) Their advanced audio blogs are noteworthy. But I agree, it is merely a supplement.

    To the other poster, they have recently changed their promotion. If you get the premium trial, the downloads are limited. I was lucky for one to get their pay one dollar for the first month promotion for their premium level for one of the languages that I wanted to learn, but ended up paying basic for another at discount because their "trial" service has been changed. Upon the completion of the download, I will cancel the service. I'd rather pay $4 once and leave my computer on all night than to take my time and check off the "Mark as Done" box.

    I admit I haven't tried their Japanese, but I recently started getting back into it. I lived in Korea for a few years and speak Korean a notch below fluent. (I was at fluent when I lived there though, but it has been five years.) I am going through the Michel Thomas course, then on to Pimsleur levels, and then get to Let's Learn Japanese.

    I have seen other video series out there, like Kazue's programme and one focused on intermediate level for US$57. Has anyone tried these?

  8. I liked the review and thought it was very helpful but I almost couldn't read the whole thing you need to get someone to proofread your posts. I have read all of your posts and watched all of your videos, I find you very inspirational but I'm a grammer nazi. I know, I'm sorry it was just driving me crazy I had to say something.

  9. ^I don't want to start a fight, but for a "grammar nazi" your grammar isn't that great either. Don't get me wrong, neither is mine, but then I don't proclaim to be a "grammar nazi".

    Anyway, I've been using japanesepod101.com for about two weeks and I'm enjoying it! Some of the hosts can be irritating, but the overall content is pretty good. It can be a nice supplement to your day-to-day learning of japanese.

  10. supplement? so than what should my main source of japanese learning be?
    I was thinking of getting a basic membership to continue learning japanese, i learned all hiragana already.

    1. ohhh you get this special Japanese tea and you just soak it in that way!! LOL....I know what you mean/.."supplement?" when really you can use Jpod101 as your main source, but just deepen into grammar, vocab and get into JDrama (check out 'D addicts' (NukeMarine) as Japanese drama can be excellent. Honestly, JPod is fine1!

  11. Learning a new language is always a new combination of multiple different sources. To learn Japanese I would say at least three tools are required. Those tools are a SRS for memory and recognition, a grammar guide to understand how sentences are formed, and audio. The audio is required to help you learn to adjust to the way people speak in that language.

    There is not a single correct way to go about it, but let me give you one possible combination. Anki is the most common SRS and is an invaluable tool when learning kanji, Tae Kim's Guide to Grammar or Textfugu are great guides for grammar depending on your level of skill (the author of Textfugu also provides you with several imports for Anki), then for listening you can either watch Japanese media like anime or a podcast like JapanesePod101. Both anime and podcasts would have different upsides but they are not enough by themselves if you want to become fluent as quickly as possible.

  12. That sums it up perfectly! I was trying to explain to someone why this site wasn't the best to start with if they really wanted to learn Japanese, but I couldn't put it into words.
    P.S. I completely agree about the annoying host thing as well. ^_^

  13. "I actually liked they’re site!", really? try "their" site and you'll be on the right track.

  14. Actually I found the site 3 years ago, but when I saw I have to pay I quit using it. But they were constantly sending me messages. So now, 3 years later I am going on the N2 of JLPT and I thought "why not give it a try". So I decided to pay for a basic account, just to download the materials. So now I have it all, just for 8$. (By the way, you have to be careful, when you pay for a month the basic account is 8$ and if you don`t click that you don`t want to continue paying, you will be charged continuously). It was really tough to download all the 1200+ audio lessons and all the PDF-s, but it was worth it. The lessons are good, but I don`t know do they work if you are really an absolute beginner. So, try it if you have time to download everything (+ the video lessons), but be careful. じゃ、またね! :D

  15. I have been using their website for ~ a month now on a basic subscription. I do agree with others about their spamming. Even though I have a subscription, I get emails about upgrading it. I think the basic one is good enough.
    I am using this website as a sole method of learning Japanese and pretty happy with it. I don't have to spend too much time to work on it rigorously and can go through the lessons at my own pace.
    The best part I find about this website is the comments. I have learnt so much about the grammar and structure of a sentence by writing to them in the comment section. They reply within a day or two and their replies are good enough to clear my doubts.
    I agree that basic subscription is not cheap and will add up to a lot in a long term, long term being the key. I do not mind spending $4/mo. as compared to shelving a big chunk at once. But I don't know any other sites and so I am not sure how others expect to pay.

  16. The free accounts advertised are a kind scam.
    They get you to entre your credit card details to pay $1 towards broadband/network costs, but in fact they set up an auto-renew against your account to re-charge at monthly intervals $25 Premium. You can change the settings if you are aware, but there is nothing in the initial sign up to indicate this.
    The other issue people should be aware of is the repeated and extreamly numerous emails and in my view amout to spam.
    In my view if you are wanting to learn Japanese there are better resources out there.

  17. How I got access to all of the audio/video lessons was that I signed up for the free trial and downloaded all of the lessons within the week I had the trial which gave me access to everything interestingly. I know it's cheap, but they're the one's advertising a free lifetime account.

  18. I got lucky and smart on this, that is what i looked up before finding this site. I landed on a deal where you only had to spend one dollar for a month of their premium content, and the reason I did it was because all their lessons can be downloaded with all the pdf lessons and information as well as all the audio and video. for a total of about 46 gigabytes of japanese learning. I am glad I have all of the resources but I cant stand how you have to go through 10 minutes of their talkshow to get 2 minutes of information, it would take forever to learn and go through everything with their method. I am really hoping I can fly through it with the system here. I am all for this method and cant wait to use all the resources and learning techniques.


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